Macular Degeneration Awareness Week 2013 saw Patron Ita Buttrose use her platform as Australian of the Year to raise awareness of macular degeneration.
“The day I was honoured with Australian of the Year, I made a public commitment to raise awareness of issues relating to older Australians, including macular degeneration,” Ita Buttrose
For Ita it’s personal, “I was terribly upset when my late father told me he had macular degeneration. As a journalist and author, dad always started the day reading a couple of newspapers, suddenly this was no longer possible. I couldn’t imagine not being able to read again. Macular degeneration is a devastating disease,” said Ita.
Ita in her role as Patron highlighted the key messages:
- Have an eye test and make sure the macula is checked
- Never ignore any changes in vision
- Eat an “eye friendly” diet and lead a healthy lifestyle
- Donate to Macular Disease Foundation Australia Research Grants Program
- Know the symptoms
Symptom recognition was also a focus. Symptoms can include one or more of the following:
- Difficulty with reading or any other activity with fine vision
- Distortion where straight lines appear wavy or bent
- Distinguishing faces becomes a problem
- Dark patches or empty spaces appear in the centre of your vision